The wine pack grows back

The forests from which Tetra Pak sources its paperboard are constantly renewed as trees are planted to replace the ones harvested. This sustainable approach to forest management is just one factor making carton packages the most environmentally sound wine packaging.

Standing on a hill in northern Sweden, you’ll probably notice two things: the absolute quiet, and the fact that there are pine trees in every direction as far as you can see. In fact, forests cover 57% of Sweden’s total land area. That’s an area as large as the entire United Kingdom.

It’s no accident, though, that Sweden has as many trees as it does. Sweden passed its first modern forestry act as early as 1903. This has meant that while forests have shrunk in other parts of the world, Sweden’s standing volume of forests has increased by 200% since 1950.

When looking out on an endless sea of trees, wine cartons might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, how these forests are managed is very closely linked with how Tetra Pak produces its cartons. After all, on average three-quarters of the weight in a Tetra Pak wine carton is from paperboard.

“We don’t own or manage the forests that we receive our paperboard from, but we work very closely with our suppliers to make sure they practise sustainable forest management,” says Irene Gedeon, Sustainability Communications Director. “This is why all paperboard used by Tetra Pak comes from FSC™-certified forests and other controlled sources.”

The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) is an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sustainable forest management worldwide.

Full traceability

One of the ways Tetra Pak has done this is through the FSC Chain of Custody certification. This means that all the wood fibres that Tetra Pak uses can be traced at every stage of the supply chain. It also means that Tetra Pak can supply FSC-labelled packages from anywhere in the world.

Tetra Pak’s FSC certification is part of the company’s overall commitment to ensure responsible sourcing, including social, environmental and ethical considerations, as well as cost, quality and delivery time.

“We’re a global company with suppliers all over the world, so that means what we do, and what our suppliers do, can make a big difference,” says Gedeon. “We want to minimize negative impacts and make a positive contribution to the businesses, people and communities that make up our supply chain.”

Tetra Pak’s procurement policy places a strong focus on responsible sourcing. In 2015, the company issued a new Code of Business Conduct for Suppliers, which all suppliers must agree to. The Code sets out mandatory requirements and encourages suppliers to strengthen their own sustainability efforts.

Target: 100% renewable

“Of course, we don’t make our wine cartons only from paperboard,” says Gedeon. “We also use thin layers of polymer to prevent moisture from getting in or out, as well as a very thin layer of aluminium to provide vital protection from oxygen and light. However, it’s our long-term ambition to ensure that everything that goes into our packages comes from a renewable source. That’s why in 2015 we launched our first package that uses polymers from sugarcane ethanol from renewable sources.”

Already in 2011, Tetra Pak launched the industry’s first caps made from bio-based polymers. These bio-based caps are derived from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, which have a lower carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuel-based polymers.

“Whether it’s Sweden or Brazil, we strongly believe in using materials from renewable resources in all of our products,” says Gedeon. “Smart decisions today really do lead to a more sustainable future. Sweden’s forests prove that.”

The FSC licence code for Tetra Pak is FSC™ C014047.

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